Fizz and I have been having a tough time of it the last couple of days, “Buzzard Luck,” we say, that’s what you call it when you have no luck at all. A storm blew in and getting out has been a trial, you can forget photographs.
To be fair it is not so bad for me as I am quite tall…
It is worse for her, she is small.
We can wait indoors till the rain stops but the wind is relentless and spoils everything.
I am going to have a little drink tonight. I think that I made up my mind on Wednesday that I would have a drink on Saturday and so I was looking forward to it. You understand looking forward to something don’t you?
Imagine my disappointment when this happened!
So I took Fizz out in the horrible weather because 1) Dogs need walking and 2) Sheep need checking and I didn’t want to do them on my own.
There was one missing. I counted them over and over because it is difficult to count sheep but I couldn’t get more than 35 and there should be 36. So we searched the hedges. Four fields, 60 acres in total, it is a lot of hedge, on foot.
The whiskey shop closes early in the village and time was ticking by. There is nothing that I can do about it, there is an animal missing and I can’t find it. I went back to the farm.
Jump Fizz! Jump!
At the farm I met a friend of mine, the same age as me but he has worked on farms all of his life. He renovates old tractors in our farmyard now. He is the best man for Sheep problems.
“There is a Sheep missing and I can’t find it, will it be all right overnight?”
He said, “If it is on it’s back, it will be dead by morning.”
“Okay, I will find it.”
He said, “Jump in the truck, we will look together.”
So I got in the Thunderbird. (Fully Advised and Briefed)
We found it. I had counted right and the lost lamb was caught up right by the gate of the first field that we looked in.
Stupid, stupid Sheep. You had me so worried.
It didn’t take any time to find it and I made it to the whiskey store in time and so I am enjoying a little drink with my coffee as I write this.
But that is not the story.
Just as we were about to land by the top field, my friend brought his Thunderbird to a halt and wound down his window.
“You haven’t got your camera on you, have you?” he said.
Like Hopalong Cassidy doesn’t carry a gun. “I have a camera.”
Then ignoring Parker’s urgent enquiries into the progress of the mission he put the Thunderbird into reverse and pulled up here.
These pictures won’t win any prizes, it was a dark overcast day and my camera is at arms length stretching over the driver to try and see out of the futuristic rescue vehicle’s window but it is good for me.
I have been trying to get close to this bird since I arrived here.
The stupid animal only really had one pose but if you study my pictures carefully the head moves.
“Do tricks” I shouted but she wasn’t having it.
It is a Buzzard, they are very common here but they circle high above me. I have to describe their cry as plaintive, it is lonely and distant but also beautiful.
They are always here, sometimes flying in clear blue sky, brilliantly illuminated by the sun and sometimes swooping out of the darkest cloud in the first light of morning.
That’s gone. (Thank you)
This is something that I believe, “If you be nice then nice things will happen to you,” that is what it felt like.
Dog walked, Sheep saved, beautiful wildlife observed.
At this point Fizz would like me to advise you that if you were planning to kiss her goodnight, you should do so now. (It’s the garlic thing)
If you are lucky enough to have Smellyvision then this would also be a good time to scratch your screen.
Allium ursinum, The Wild Garlic
Wild Garlic is also known as Ramsons, Buckrams or Bear’s Garlic. Brown Bears are supposed to be very fond of it and so are Wild Boar. (The Latin name ursinum is derived from the Latin word Ursus meaning Bear)
It is a beautiful native wildflower and a heady scent of garlic in the woods, it is also very good food.
The first leaves appear late in February.
The leaves are best harvested in March and April before the flowers appear. I have heard that you can boil them but I don’t know why you would do that, they are an excellent addition to salad when served fresh and uncooked.
On my plate I have Wild Garlic, Garlic Mustard, Cuckooflower and primrose.
Some care must be taken when collecting Wild Garlic. The leaves are easy to identify, they grow on single green stalks, they are quite large and lance shaped with smooth edges and most importantly, they smell of Garlic.
Every year there are cases of poisonings concerning Wild Garlic, more so in Europe than the UK because foraging is more popular there. Poisonings occur because Wild Garlic grows in large patches and there will be other things growing in amongst it. In the next two pictures there is Wild Arum and then Dog’s Mercury growing amongst Wild Garlic, both potentially fatal.
It is tempting to gather up this delicious herb by the handful but personally I select and check each leaf individually as I collect them. It is important to know what you are eating.
The flowers start to arrive in April. The flowers can now be eaten and added to salads in the same way as the leaves, they have a slightly stronger garlic flavour.
At first they look like large uneven green buds.
These are actually a pair of green bracts that are forming a case around an umbel that might carry as many as twenty flowers.
The bracts turn papery and fall off as the umbel expands.
This is what was in each of those green cases.
Each flower on the umbel is composed of six white petals, it has six stamens and the pollen is pure white, there is a single style in the centre and at the base of that is the green, three lobed ovary.
The seeds are edible and so the flowers can still be gathered as the seed starts to ripen. The bulbs are also edible but taking them removes the whole plant from the wild, they are small and best left in place to provide for future crops.
Wild Garlic is hermaphrodite and it is self fertile but is also pollinated by insects. It produces a lot of seed and spreads easily. It also produces little bulbs on the base of the original bulb and can be propagated by division.
Species: Allium ursinum
Wildflowers in the depths of winter 🙂